This month marks 80 years since the rise of Fascism in Italy. The Fascists were able to rise to power because the workers had faced a terrible defeat during the struggles of 1920. This article explains why that movement went down to defeat and draws the lessons for today. In the autumn of 1920 all the conditions for socialist revolution existed. At the crucial moment when the workers could have taken power their "leaders" blocked the road to revolution.

On October 18 the CGIL called a general strike without the support of the other two main trade union federations, the CISL and UIL. The latter actually opposed the strike and did everything to make sure it would not be a success. The bosses were also belittling the strike. Unfortunately for them this general strike was a huge success. There were demonstrations in 120 towns all over Italy and at least 1 million workers took part in the demonstrations. According to some reports the figure could even be close to 2 million.

The 50,000 people taking part in the European Social Forum last week in Florence were far more than the organisers had expected. The last day, Saturday, saw one million people marching in Florence against the war in Iraq and the Berlusconi government. There was a thirst for revolutionary ideas among the youth who were present, not seen since the 1970s.

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